Friday, February 29, 2008

What Happened? Mike Doughty/Soul Coughing Edition

Soul Coughing used to be one of my favorite bands. Ruby Vroom would easily make its way into my top 25 favorite albums. It was so full of awesome funk and sample-y goodness and drug induced nonsensical fun and wicked drum beats that it was impossible not to love. Here is a snippet of lyrics from the song Moon Sammy:

Moon Sammy washes. In the sink. Below the sink. There is a drain. The draing oes straight. Into the sea. The sink itself. Is porcelain.
Obsess yourself with causality. The information you hear is a loophole,technicality. Behind every object is a mathematic; an obscure substance infused with a kinetic force, energy, an obscure conscience shoots a gun at the feet the world dances.

Set over a weird jazzy beat that is better heard than explained.

Irresistible Bliss came out, and was, while not as good as Ruby Vroom, still really strong with some really great songs. I can still remember in 1998 rabidly foaming at the mouth waiting for El Oso to come out, and how much I wanted to love it the first 5 times I listened to it, before I resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn't very good. It's not that it was bad really. Just gone was all the fun stuff and the seeming stream of consciousness lyrics that made Ruby Vroom amazing and Irresistible Bliss's better songs so good. There were some pretty good songs on it, but it just seemed kind of blah, I guess.

Then in 2000, they broke up.

I remember how interested I was to head Mike Doughty's solo album in 2000. He always seemed like the real drive behind the music anyway. And I guess what I mean by that was that crazier he seemed, the better the album. It seemed as though maybe he was easing off the drugs or something, and maybe that's why all the weird eccentricities that added so much to the songs started to disappear. I was intrigued. So I was surprised that the only backing music on Skittish was an acoustic guitar, and I was also surprised at how awesome it was. His cover of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" is awesome, though the overall tone of the album is a hell of a lot darker than anything Soul Coughing ever put out. From album closer Rising Sign:

i’ve seen the dangers of your rising sign/ but i swear i’d like to drink the fuel straight from your lighter / it’s all inside the wrist, it’s all inside the way you time it/ i resent the way you make me like myself

After a couple of EPs and one
really good live album type thing, Haughty Melodic came out - finally - in 2005. I was excited to hear what direction he would go in. His EPs had hinted at a more fleshed out sound. What I didn't expect, however, was for Doughty to become a complete hipster and a pussy. I guess he kind of always was a hipster, but before hipsters were hipsters, so I'll let it slide... for now. Anyway, on this album it seems like it's "Goodbye Heroin, Hello Jesus!" and we're all worse off (except maybe Doughty's health or whatever). His most recent album, Golden Delicious, solidifies his fall into pussydom. It's all poppy and boring and not remotely interesting. They aren't bad albums, really. But I wouldn't think either one bears a repeat listen. And here is a quick conversation about an EP that was released with Golden Delicious:

Pemulis: got this EP that came with the mike doughty album if you bought it from insound - its like 5 tracks he recorded of him playing solo in a subway station
Pemulis: its not bad, but its as annoyingly hipster-ish as it sounds like it could be
Pemulis: like him with tiny bits of chatting in between songs and shit, faint trains sounds here and there. just want to punch him
Killian: a concept that I like/hate after reading that sentence
Pemulis: its almost like it could be a cool concept then you see it executed and you can imagine him sitting in the subway station thinking he is the coolest person alive for thinking to record a little ep in a subway station
Pemulis: and you just want to fight him
Killian: EXCATLY
Killian: or exactly
Pemulis: excatly (adverb) an action done in the manner of a dead cat, or ghost cat

It's depressing considering how much I love some of the stuff. Let's move on.
Here's a video retrospective full of highlights (that I could find on youtube.)

True Dreams of Wichita from Ruby Vroom

Super Bon Bon from Irresistible Bliss (bonus points because this is the actual video, and features a kitty-cat!)

Circles from El Oso (Not the best song on the album, but one of the too few highlights)

Some other stuff cuz' why not I guess:

Video for Screenwriter's Blues, from Ruby Vroom.

Doughty performing Bottom of Well, from Haughty Melodic.

Video for 27 Jennifers, from Golden Delicious.

Doughty playing Janine, live somewhere at some point.

No comments:

Post a Comment